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BIHL lets women run the show

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Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), the country’s principal diversified insurance and asset management group, has lined up all its most powerful positions with women, from Chief Executive to board chairperson, Business Trends has observed.

All indications are that starting next year, at least three most powerful and influential posts will be occupied by women. As a matter of fact, BIHL Chairperson is Batsho Dambe-Groth. As the BIHL Chairperson, Groth is the main lady when it comes to drafting, approval and execution of the group’s strategy.

BIHL is insurance and asset management behemoth. The company, which is owned in majority by Sanlam, is a market leader in many respects. Its wholly owned subsidiary – Botswana Life – controls more than 70 percent of the industry.

Come April 2016, current Botswana Life boss, Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele will walk across the block at Fairgrounds offices, to assume the BIHL top post on the other side.She will be replacing Malawian-man Gaffar Hassam. Hassam is leaving for a much more challenging and rewarding position as group executive at Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM). As BIHL boss, Letegele will most likely be the most powerful corporate lady in Botswana’s private sector.

Apart from the mouthwatering perks that come with the post, Letegele will be leading a BSE-quoted business, which has a market value of P4, 2 billion. The group is now 40 years old, and it has promised to continue to lead the pack.

BIHL has investments across the economy through its several subsidiaries. At BIFM, the group’s asset management subsidiary, Neo Bogatsu has just received the nod to lead the multibillion Pula Company. It is an early Christmas present for her. She assumed the top post on the 1st December 2015.

As the Chief Executive of this company, Bogatsu is the go to lady for above normal rate return on investments for products such as unit trusts, savings, assets management and capital market investments in the country.

Bogatsu will be heading a trailblazing business with asset under its management totaling P20, 5 billion as of June 2015. In yet another development, which will add to the growing list of women in top posts at BIHL and its subsidiaries, Bilkiss Moorad has been roped in to deputise outgoing Botswana Life boss, Letegele. The post is new at the company.

Moorad, an insurance stalwart is likely to head the company when Letelege bids the firm goodbye early next year, sources have said. Moorad is a former manager at Zurich Insurance company.

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BSE upgrades online investor access

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A recent BSE opening bell function.

Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) will this year introduce a new clearing and settlement system, as part of efforts to improve operations of the bourse.

Speaking at the seventh opening bell ceremony, Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the development will help improve liquidity and risk management. In addition, the new settlement system replaces the 2008 system while fast tracking introduction of security borrowing and lending, management settlement guarantee fund, as well as identifiers for companies and instrument.

BSEL has already awarded a contract to a Swedish company to implement the system which is also expected to digitalize Initial Public Offering (IPO), allow electronic voting for listed companies during annual general meetings (AGM) for absent shareholders.

The project, which is expected to take eight months once the two parties sign the deal, is part of efforts to have more online investors access for BSEL. Tsheole also revealed that BSEL website will undergo a revamp this year, allowing it to be more analytic, live feed shares, as they trade.“The tender is already out for the website and mobile application. It is a project that we had hoped to implement last year but because of logistic problems, we could not do it,” said Tsheole.

BSEL further plans to introduce two data display screens at CBD and at the stock exchange.“These will assist with information sharing and keep the market updated,” said Tsheole. Meanwhile, BSEL will not change its Automated Trading System (ATS) until 2022, according to Tsheole.“The system supports our strategy to grow the market and increase the average daily turnover levels to 18.0million per day by 2021,” said Tsheole.

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BSE complies with reporting guidelines

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Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) has become the 5th bourse in Africa to comply and publish Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting guidelines.

The development comes a year after BSEL became a partner exchange of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative.“The BSE made a commitment to publish guidance on ESG Reporting. This commitment has been fulfilled.“

We are the 42nd among the 81 SSE Partner Exchanges globally and the 5th in Africa to do this,” said Kgotla Segwe, Market Development Specialist at Botswana Stock Exchange Limited.
Other stock exchanges that have complied with the SSE initiative on the continent are from South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

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